Lean Principles

I'm teaching the ICT Project at ACU, and we're at the stage where we are talking about project management and how it relates to what we're currently working on. The project management principles I discuss during the course are derived from ITIL and Prince2, however there is something wrong.

One of my student's has had a go at building his own application and is currently trying to sell it to prospective clients. The student has the hallmarks of an entrepreneur, and what we've found is that the ITIL and Prince2 frameworks aren't practical for entrepreneurship. Infact I've found it to be a downright waste of time. But is there a framework suitable for this type of project which is in essence similar to a Start Up company?

The good news is that there is a suitable framework. It is known as The Lean Startup, it borrows techniques from 'The Toyota way' and its gathering momentum with conferences, training and meetups happening all around the world. Two books that I've read on this subject matter are:

Running Lean is absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend it to all aspiring entrepreneurs. Check out Ash's website or run your idea through a lean canvas and decide for yourself if you think its worth pursuing further. The great thing with the book is that you get an insight into the thought processes of the author as he iterated his way through his own project. Populating the lean canvas and rigorously testing his hypothesis.

The second piece of good news is that during my discussions on project management I also talk about Lean Methodologies and how it fits in with start up projects more readily than traditional frameworks like ITIL or Prince2. At the end of the course it's quite clear:

  • Leave ITIL and Prince2 to big business that want to stick with traditional buereacratic processes
  • Prospective entrepreneurs should embrace Lean methodologies.

And I'm not the only one teaching Lean principles at University. Eric Ries is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School which you guessed it; is also teaching Lean Principles in their classes.

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